An introduction to WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) projects

21st February 2019

Raleigh International has been working to improve water, sanitation and hygiene standards in the Gorkha region of Nepal since 2015. Here, Jay Ham, part of the country office team in Nepal this spring, explains what the projects involve and the importance of Raleigh's work for these marginalised rural communities.

Whilst in Nepal, Raleigh Expedition volunteers are working on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects in the rural region of Gorkha. The projects involve the implementation and creation of both ‘hardware’ (physical structures) and ‘software’ (education of practices) in the communities where they are living. Nepal is water rich; but issues with accessibility, governance, infrastructure, topography and socio-economics means that many communities do not have access to safe or adequate water sources and have not been taught water management or sanitation practices. The projects that young volunteers are undertaking are very important for addressing these issues in marginalised areas.

Constructing the ‘hardware’ is the physically demanding part to implement. This involves digging, mixing cement, measuring and building the structures needed to provide adequate and safe water to households in the community.

Volunteers will be working with community members and local NGO Goreto Gorkha on gravity water feed systems. These systems collect water at a source, manage the pressure so that it is evenly distributed, filter the water, and deliver it to households via tap stands. These systems are no easy build. Some are over 1500m long and are connected to over 75 tap stands!

The Expedition volunteer management team working with local NGO partner Goretto Gorkha to build a tap stand

Having access to a tap outside their house saves the community members hours walking to local streams to collect water. The time saved could be spent by going to school or by improving their livelihoods. In addition, various WASH stations will be constructed. These simple stands can help the community to maintain hygiene by providing a clean area to wash their clothes, pots, hands etc. These should help stop the spread of disease and improve general sanitation.

Constructing the ‘hardware’ will only be effective by providing various WASH skills known as ‘software’. Volunteers will meet with various community groups including local schools, women’s groups and youth groups to provide them with training of various safe hygiene practices and methods of water management. Some of the training shall include disease prevention, hand washing and how to use waste water. Goreto Gorkha will assist the volunteers in setting up and delivering these meetings as they are hugely important for using the hardware effectively.

Working closely with the community and Goreto Gorkha by implementing both the ‘hardware’ and ‘software’ means that the Raleigh projects are inclusive, effective and most importantly sustainable!

Follow the progress of our programmes in Nepal on Facebook and Instagram. To find out how you can volunteer please click here

Images and post by Jay Ham

Related posts

Blog
Creating a Lasting Impact in Nayagaun